The Wabash Valley Long Term Disaster Recovery Coalition (WVLTDRC), which assesses need-based assistance in Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties, is preparing to set up a coordinating committee in Clay County.
At this point, the coalition has focused mainly on the needs of residents in Vigo County as it is where the majority of the more than 4,000 FEMA claims are located.
"There were more than 400 claims filed in Clay County," Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband said. "Not only are we looking into finding individual and public assistance, but we are also trying to find funding for levees that may still be damaged."
Husband said applications for potential assistance reimbursement were submitted to FEMA last week and the focus is now turning to help at the local level.
A total of $5,569,831 in construction and content damage has been assessed by WVLTDRC in the five counties as of Tuesday. Nearly $4 million of the assessments are uninsured.
WVLTDRC Director Jenn Kersey said the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) has surveyed 258 households for damage and found 20 to be a total structure loss and five which need to be totally rebuilt. The majority of those surveyed also had wall and/or floor damage.
"Right now we are trying to put together a team in Clay County," Kersey said. "The best way to receive a need assessment is to call the Vigo County Lifeline by dialing 2-1-1."
Case Management Coordinator Beth Gaither said the coalition considers need on a case-by-case basis in order to provide the best assistance possible.
"There are a lot of people who have questions, while others just need someone to talk to," she said. "We are currently in the process of breaking down our database so we can assign case managers."
Husband said the need-based assistance would not cover personal items, but could be available for certain appliances.
According to survey statistics provided by the CRWRC, major appliances like refrigerators, washers and driers were found to be the biggest content need among the 248 households.
Gaither said they are also looking into fixing and replacing furnaces in anticipation for the winter months.
"We haven't been able to fix furnaces yet, but with the weather starting to change, we have been giving away blankets to help out with what has been donated.
The WVLTDRC has set up a meeting for Monday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom of the Clay County Courthouse to set up a county coordinating committee.
For questions about providing donations or to volunteer, call 812-234-7100, while those looking for need-based assistance may call the alternate Vigo County Lifeline at 812-238-2620.